Wednesday, June 30, 2021

That's A Wrap

It was 1973 that I first had a job that shows up on my Social Security earnings record.  I now have 26 years credit in Social Security, and another 14 years credit at the University of Illinois.  All told, that's 40 years of what society deems to be gainful employment.  

My UI time includes working on the PLATO computer system around 1979, the Imaging Technology Group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology in the early 2000s, and the Cybersecurity Directorate at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications around 2009-2011, before 9+ years at CITES/Technology Services.

There were bumps and detours (and working for myself for a few years) along the way, with layoffs, and venture funding that evaporated.  But it seems if you get up and go to work every day, eventually you've got something to show for it.

Today I worked my last day for the UI, turning in my office keys and my laptop.  I'm satisfied with my career.  Tomorrow my retirement officially begins.  But I'll only be semi-retired for the next 6(?) years or so; I've been teaching TaeKwonDo for 6 years in Monticello, and I'll see where that takes me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Worst

Working people have a lot of bad habits, but the worst of them is work.

-- Clarence Darrow (1857 - 1938), American lawyer, most famous for having defended John T. Scopes in the so-called "Monkey" Trial (1925), opposing William Jennings Bryan, quoted in Lincoln Steffens, Autobiography (1931)

Monday, June 28, 2021

Don't Just Go Back

At this point in time, consider this your own, great reset.  This difficult time that all of us went through really upended our routines; it pointed out just how precious were so many of the things we took for granted in 2019.  See this as an opportunity to look at things with brand new eyes.  Don't just go back to your pre-pandemic life.  Don't just go back to doing things the way you did them, because that was the way that you did them.  Look at your life, your routines, your art, your practice, your training, look at it like a beginner -- and make it what you want it to be.

-- Shihan Kendall Buhl, martial arts instructor and founder of The Dojo Salisbury, on the Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio podcast, episode 618, 28 June 2021

Friday, June 25, 2021


180ism has three core components.

The first and most obvious is that the primary question most participants in public debate ask themselves is not "How do my values inform my views on this matter?" or "What is the evidence for what is being asserted?"  Rather, it is "How do I demonstrate that I am a loyal member of my political tribe?"  As it happens, the easiest way to do that is simple: Look for what the enemy says on any one issue and stake out the opposite position.

The second component is that public discourse becomes dangerously narrow when a lot of individuals with big platforms reflexively contradict whatever their adversaries say.  Complex questions that should, in principle, allow for a large number of different answers are then flattened into a simple referendum between diametrically opposed sides. 

The third component is that the dynamics of 180ism exert enormous pressure on anybody who does not behave as expected.  If, unwilling to let the discourse shoehorn you into one of two sanctioned positions, you insist on giving a third answer, you are denounced as an attention-seeking contrarian.  And if, following your long-held values or principles, you come up with an answer that your political adversary happens to agree with, you are denounced as a traitor.  In a discourse dominated by 180ism, occasionally disagreeing with your friends -- a sign that you are willing to think for yourself -- is widely interpreted as proof of bad faith.

-- Yascha Mounk (1982-), German-American political scientist, The Perils of 180ism, 25 June 2021

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The American People

First of all, on the issue of critical race theory, etc., I will obviously have to get much smarter on whatever the theory is, but I do think it is important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read. ...

What is it that that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America?  What caused that?  I want to find that out.  I want to maintain an open mind here and I do want to analyze it.  It's important that we understand that because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardians, they come from the American people.  So it is important that the leaders, now and in the future, do understand it.

I've read Mao Zedong, I've read Karl Marx, I've read Lenin, that doesn't make me a communist.  So what is wrong with understanding -- having some situational understanding about the country that we are here to defend?  And I personally find it offensive that we are finding the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned and noncommissioned officers of being ‘woke' or something else because we're studying some theories that are out there.

-- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley at a House Armed Services Committee budget hearing, responding to questions from two Republican lawmakers about the teaching of critical race theory at West Point, the United States Military Academy, 23 June 2021

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

School Softball Cheer

F--- school, f--- softball, f--- cheer, f--- everything

-- 2017 Snapchat post by Pennsylvania cheerleader Brandi Levy which prompted a one-year suspension from the cheerleading program, and which was ruled constitutionally protected speech by the Supreme Court today, 23 June 2021

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Not Paying

The NCAA couches its arguments for not paying student athletes in innocuous labels.  But the labels cannot disguise the reality: The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America.  

-- Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion in National Collegiate Athletic Association v Shawne Alston, et al, which ruled unanimously that some NCAA restrictions on student athlete earnings are violations of antitrust law, 21 June 2021

Monday, June 21, 2021

We Convince Ourselves

There is a holy mistaken zeal in politics as well as in religion.  By persuading others, we convince ourselves.

-- Junius, pseudonym of a writer who contributed a series of letters to the London Public Advertiser (published by Harry Sampson Woodfall) from January 21, 1769 to January 21, 1772, No. 35 (19 December 1769)

Friday, June 18, 2021

Holding Nothing Back

To be a good father means to offer everything, holding nothing back; to protect without suffocating; to pardon without asking anything in return; to wait patiently and trustingly.  It means following the example of the "Good Father" who is in heaven.  May God bless all fathers!

-- Pope Francis, via Twitter as @Pontifex, 19 March 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021

ACA Still Stands

[W]e conclude that the plaintiffs in this suit failed to show a concrete, particularized injury fairly traceable to the defendants' conduct in enforcing the specific statutory provision they attack as unconstitutional.  They have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act's minimum essential coverage provision.  Therefore, we reverse the Fifth Circuit's judgment in respect to standing, vacate the judgment, and remand the case with instructions to dismiss.

It is so ordered.

-- Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the 7-2 Supreme Court majority in California v Texas, which challenged the constitutionality of the zeroed-out tax mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, upholding Obamacare for a third time, 17 June 2021

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Juneteenth National Independence Day Act

S. 475 -- AN ACT To amend title 5, United States Code, to designate Juneteenth National Independence Day as a legal public holiday.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the "Juneteenth National Independence Day Act".


Section 6103(a) of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to Memorial Day the following:

" Juneteenth National Independence Day, June 19.".

-- Text of Senate Bill S. 475, which passed the Senate June 15, 2021 and awaits President Biden's signature

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A Decent Living

We find our population suffering from old inequalities, little changed by vast sporadic remedies.  In spite of our efforts and in spite of our talk, we have not weeded out the over privileged and we have not effectively lifted up the underprivileged.  Both of these manifestations of injustice have retarded happiness.  No wise man has any intention of destroying what is known as the profit motive; because by the profit motive we mean the right by work to earn a decent livelihood for ourselves and for our families.

We have, however, a clear mandate from the people, that Americans must forswear that conception of the acquisition of wealth which, through excessive profits, creates undue private power over private affairs and, to our misfortune, over public affairs as well.  In building toward this end we do not destroy ambition, nor do we seek to divide our wealth into equal shares on stated occasions.  We continue to recognize the greater ability of some to earn more than others.  But we do assert that the ambition of the individual to obtain for him and his a proper security, a reasonable leisure, and a decent living throughout life, is an ambition to be preferred to the appetite for great wealth and great power.

-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 - 1945),  American statesman and political leader who served as the President of the United States from 1933, to 1945, Second State of the Union Address (4 January 1935)

Monday, June 14, 2021

Some Other Nonsense

If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again.  There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense.  If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.

-- Penn Fraser Jillette (1955 -), American magician, scientific skeptic, actor, musician, inventor, television presenter, and author, best known for his work with fellow magician Teller as half of the team Penn & Teller, God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales, p. 129 (2011)

Friday, June 11, 2021


* Upon entering Phase 5, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

* Under Phase 5, all sectors of the economy can resume at regular capacity.  Phase 5 also marks the return of traditional conventions, festivals, and large events without capacity restrictions.  Large gatherings of all sizes can resume across all industry settings, and Phase 5 removes requirements that businesses institute mandatory social distancing in seated venues as well as daily health screenings of employees and visitors.

* All unvaccinated persons should wear face coverings in crowded settings, both indoors and outdoors, especially when youth are present. See CDC guidance for further information.

-- New guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, as Illinois today enters Phase 5 (Reopening) of the pandemic, 11 June 2021

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Cardinal Method

The cardinal method with faults is to overgrow them and choke them out with virtues.

-- John Bascom (1827 - 1911), professor of rhetoric at Williams College from 1855 to 1874, and president of the University of Wisconsin from 1874 to 1887, quoted in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 213

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Old Man

I'm not afraid of growing old.  I'm not sure that I'll ever be an old man.  Maybe in the chronological sense -- but that's all.

-- Solomon "Sol" Kerzner (1935 -), South African accountant and business magnate, "The Miniature Minotaur" by Jani Allan, from the Just Jani column of the Sunday Times (1980s), republished in Face Value by Jani Allan (1983)

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Films For The Blind

All I have to do is make you see this.  This one particular thing here.  That's all.  And sometimes it's impossible.  Sometimes, I know the best odds I can hope for are a thousand to one.  You'll see what you see, what your life has conditioned you to see upon encountering that combination of words, not what I want or need you to see.  Fiction writing is like making films for the blind.

-- Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan (1964 -), Irish-born American author, paleontologist, and prolific blogger, blog entry at Unfit for Mass Consumption : The Online Journal of a Construct Sometimes Known as Caitlín R. Kiernan (Caitlín R. Kiernan's LiveJournal), 19 January 2005

Monday, June 07, 2021

Meta 40

Meta.  It occurred to me the other day that the 40th anniversary of the first Trvth note (on the CERL PLATO system, while I was working as a GS-9 Programmer for the Department of Defense at Chanute Air Force Base, Rantoul, IL (3330th Tech Training Wing)) was at hand.  I recollected it being May 1981, but a check of the archives shows a February 1981 entry as the first.

Anyway, 40 years.  In July 2019 I counted 5450 ish published, and it's been about 500 more since then, so now 6000 ish published.  The most recent 3500 ish (with titles that aren't "trvth", and images for each) are at

***** appearances ~appleman / chanute ~2/24/1981 ~13:50
While nothing may seem to be as it first appears, there
are in fact some things which appear to be as they are,
amidst the other things which only appear to be as they

Friday, June 04, 2021

It's For Them

The primary issue is how seriously we take our chosen obligations to people in the developing world who do not have Internet connections. ...  Frankly, and let me be blunt, Wikipedia as a readable product is not for us.  It's for them.  It's for that girl in Africa who can save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around her, but only if she's empowered with the knowledge to do so.

-- Jimmy Donal "Jimbo" Wales (7 August 1966 -), British-American Internet entrepreneur and wiki pioneer who is most famous as one of the founders of Wikipedia, an international collaborative free content encyclopedia on the Internet, and the Wikimedia Foundation, Foundation-l mailing list (23 October 2005)

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Cannot Stay Silent

As we leave high school we need to make our voices heard.  I was going to get up here and talk to you about TV and content and media because those are things that are very important to me.  However, in light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state.

Recently the heartbeat bill was passed in Texas.  Starting in September, there will be a ban on abortions that take place after 6 weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.  6 weeks.  Most women don't even realize they're pregnant by then.  And so, before they have the time to decide if they are emotionally, physically, and financially stable enough to carry out a full-term pregnancy, before they have the chance to decide if they can take on the responsibility of bringing another human into the world, the decision has been made for them by a stranger.  A decision that will affect the rest of their lives.

I have dreams, hopes, and ambitions.  Every girl here does.  We have spent our whole lives working towards our futures, and without our consent or input, our control over our futures has been stripped away from us.  I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail me, that if I'm raped, then my hopes and efforts and dreams for myself will no longer be relevant.  I hope you can feel how gut-wrenching it is, how dehumanizing it is, to have the autonomy over your own body taken from you.

And I'm talking about this today, on a day as important as this, on a day honoring the students' efforts in twelve years of schooling, on a day where we're all brought together, on a day where you will be the most inclined to hear a voice like mine, a woman's voice, to tell you that this is a problem.  A problem that can't wait.  I refuse to give up this platform to promote complacency and peace, when there is a war on my body and a war on my rights.  A war on the rights of your sisters, a war on the rights of your mothers, a war on the rights of your daughters.

We cannot stay silent.

-- Paxton Smith, Lake Highlands High School Valedictory Address, Dallas, TX, 30 May 2021

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Bony, Labyrinthean Cave

Within a bony labyrinthean cave,
Reached by the pulse of the aerial wave,
This sibyl, sweet, and Mystic Sense is found,
Muse, that presides o'er all the Powers of Sound.

-- Abraham Coles (1813 - 1891), American physician, translator, author, Man, the Microcosm; and the Cosmos, p. 51 

[Today your humble narrator got hearing aids for the first time.  And just like that, I can see the leaves on the trees.]

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

I Felt Safe

I'm a survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre.  Two weeks ago, I celebrated my 107th birthday.  

On May 31, of '21, I went to bed in my family's home in Greenwood.  I felt safe.  I had everything a child could need.  I had a bright future.

Within a few hours, all of that was gone.

I will never forget the violence of the White mob when we left our home.  I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street.  I still smell smoke and see fire.  I still see Black businesses being burned.  I still hear airplanes flying overhead.  I hear the screams.

I have lived through the massacre every day.  Our country may forget this history, but I cannot.  I will not.  And other survivors do not.  And our descendants do not.

-- Viola Fletcher (5 May 1914 -), speaking to members of a House Judiciary subcommittee about one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history, 19 May 2021